A Map, from Micheal Herman’s Inviting Organization
Having Michael Herman here on Bowen Island for a couple of months has been a treat. Usually we communicate by email and phone a lot, but yesterday we went down to The Snug, Bowen Island’s local coffee hangout, and my erstwhile boardroom where we discussed an evolution of the inviting organization.
Seems like what we have been working on for the past little while, grounded as it has been in the model of the four quadrants as described first by Ken Wilber and later by Harrison Owen and then Michael gives us a map for working with the evolution of invitation in organization. What we began to do yesterday was to map out how the practice of compassion in organizations and communities, as a personal practice, can be opened to support ever widening circles of invitation to spirited performance and participation.
We took the four quadrants, as outlined above and changed the icons a bit so that heart stayed with passion, story/vision became eyes (connected to the brain), structure became two feet running to capture the urgency that drives organization and action became a bowl symbolizing the pelvis, or the seat of power, that which supports heart and brain.
Broadly speaking, the four quadrants now collapse into Wilber’s Big Three, (I We and It) which means that we see brain/eyes (I), heart (We) and pelvis/legs (It). Within communities, like with the work we have been doing on Bowen Island, pelvis represents the structures that support the community like municipal government. That is where the power resides. Heart is the courage and the passion of citizens engaged in dialogue, not simply for the sake of contributing to the power/management structure, but also dialogue for its own sake, in support of the connections that arise from the urgency of circumstance. And all that supports a higher level sense making function, captured here on Bowen Island by the Bowen GeoLibrary, but also captured in other places by maps, stories, histories and other clues to the culture.
The same works in organizations, where the power rests in the structures and production activities that are essential to an organization. Heart is the passion people bring to work, passion which can go toxic if, as Michael says, “the passion has not yet extended to include the whole” (a wonderful definition of conflict). All that is supported by the practice of management, which is a head thing, making sense of the world, the structures, the demands and the human resources within and outside of the organization.
It’s possible I think to link these things to personal practices too. Practices like Zapchen Somatics which help the body to rest in the pelvis and clear the central channel that links pelvis/heart/brain together. Open Space Technology is the practice of heart, inviting passion and responsibility and we feel strongly that the practice of compassion in management as outlined by Peter Frost in his book Toxic Emotions at Work and followed up by his work with Compassion Lab is the connection between the heart and brain functions…handling toxins in order to extend compassion within and outward from the organization.
This stuff is all very raw right now, but will continue to evolve. No coincidence that I stopped publishing Open Space yesterday just hours before this conversation took place. Open Space was about the Inviting Organization. We’ve looked at that in practice for 12 months and now it’s time to get bigger.